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AUSTIN, TX — A Texas lawmaker is crafting a bill that is aimed at protecting the rights of unborn babies when the mother has been deemed clinically brain-dead.
The new legislation comes in response to an event that took place in Fort Worth, TX roughly last year in which a pregnant woman was ordered to be taken off of life-support to comply with her family’s wishes — thus ending not only her life, but also the life of her 23-week unborn baby.
In November 2013 Marlise Munoz was found unconscious in the middle of the night by her husband. According to her husband, the 33 year old woman had gotten up after 2am to go check on their infant son. When she did not return, the husband got up to go check on them both — he reportedly found his wife passed out on the floor.
The woman was rushed to John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth and placed on life-support. Doctors believe the primary cause of the woman’s collapse was a blood-clot in her lung.
After being on life-support for 2 months, Marlise showed no brain activity and no signs of potential revival. However her baby (Who was 14wks at the time of the incident) had a measurable heartbeat. The baby was believed to still be relatively healthy and capable of being birthed.
Despite this fact, both the woman’s husband and her parents wanted her removed from life-support immediately, Asserting that the woman would not want to be kept alive by machines. This resulted in a dispute between Doctors (who wanted to wait for the baby), and the family (who wanted her removed from life support immediately).
The family filed a lawsuit against the doctors when the doctors informed them that they could not legally remove the woman from life-support due to the Texas Advance Directive Act which states that “a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment” from a pregnant woman.
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After a court hearing, Judge R.H. Wallace sided with the Munoz family and ordered the doctors to pull the plug on the brain-dead mother — stating that because the woman was dead, the law did not apply to her.
In response, the Hospital argued that they had never actually declared the pregnant woman to be dead. However the judge then ordered them to do so and to remove her from life-support.
The hospital complied with the judge’s order and removed Marlise from life-support 2 days after the hearing, killing both her and her child.
In response to this event, Rep Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) is now tirelessly working to craft a bill that seeks to fight for the rights of unborn children in circumstances such as this.
The new bill will give the unborn baby the right to have his or her own lawyer in a court of Law to defend its case to a judge.
In the case of the Munoz family, the unborn child did not have a representative, therefore the only ‘interest’ that was taken into consideration was that of the woman’s family.
“You’ll hear what the family wants, and you’ll also give the pre-born child a chance to have a voice in court at that same time,” Krause told the reporters.
“The judge weighs everything and he or she makes their decision based on that.”
However when the Munoz family was contacted by a news outlet looking to hear their thoughts on the new legislation, the parents replied…
“To me, that’s saying that my family was not looking out for the best interest of Marlise and the fetus,” said the Mother.
“We feel our actions and decisions were based on what was best for both of them.”